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Finding Hope, After Mother-Loss

It’s been almost fifteen years since I first came across Hope Edelman’s book Motherless Daughters. I was twenty years old and living in New York. My mother had been dead for two years and I was more lost than ever. I can’t remember how I came across this book, whether someone told me about it, or whether I stumbled across it in a bookstore, but all I know is that the moment I was holding it in my hands I was in disbelief.

Someone wrote a book about¬†my experience, is all I could think. Just the mere thought that there might be other women in the world, other girls, lost and lonely and desperate in their grief over their mothers…it was utterly overwhelming. It was also this defining moment in which I realized, perhaps for the first time ever, that I might actually survive this. Staring down at Hope’s photo on the back cover, seeing another woman who had experienced what I had, and gone on to tell about it, I realized that I might actually emerge from my mother’s death and one day find a way to feel whole again.

To say this book has had a profound effect on my journey of grief following my mother’s death, is an understatement.

Hope was literally the first person who ever gave me hope in the wake of my loss. I finally met her in person for the first time last year, at a little coffee shop in Santa Monica. I’ve met so many authors in the last decade but this was most awestruck I’d ever felt in the presence of one. We sat outside with our coffee and I could barely bring myself to speak, so instead I listened to Hope tell me that she had just read my book, and how much she loved it, and then I really couldn’t speak.

So instead, I gave my best attempt to tell Hope in a wobbly voice, tears in my eyes, just how much her book had meant to me, how much light and promise it had given to my poor, broken 20 year old self all those years ago, and how grateful I was to her because of it.

I’m sure you can imagine how honored I am to tell you that I’ve been asked to be the guest speaker this year at the annual Motherless Daughters Luncheon hosted by Hope Edelman and Irene Rubaum-Keller.

If you’re a motherless daughter or you know one who is, please join us! Here is a link to the official invitation.¬†

MD Brunch Invite



  1. Full circle, baby! That is beautiful.

    Comment by Lisa Lilienthal on April 12, 2013 at 12:45 pm

  2. I lost my mom 2 1/2 years ago, when I was 30. I miss her every second of every day and find all things to be only bittersweet because she is not here to celebrate them with me. I have not read Hope’s book, nor had I heard of Motherless Daughters banquets. I am on the hunt for one in Texas now. I find myself drawn to others who have lost their moms, which is actually why I started following you on IG. Thanks for sharing your heart and your resources.

    Comment by Carly on April 12, 2013 at 1:44 pm

  3. I just recently found your blog. After reading a few entries I immediately ordered your book. I devoured your book and finished it just days ago. See, I lost my mother when I was 20 and my stepmom last year. I’m now 28 and utterly motherless and (sometimes) lost. I, too, found Motherless Daughters at the age of 20. I’ve reread the now tear stained last few pages about the daughter trees in Northern California countless times. It opened up my emotions in a way nothing else could…until I read your book. Your book brought me to spontaneous tears at least a dozen times. You described my feelings and thoughts to a tee – some feelings that I didn’t even know existed until I recognized them in your words. I can’t begin to thank you enough for putting your experiences down on paper. I know your book will be one that I’ll read over and over.

    Comment by Kat on April 12, 2013 at 5:08 pm

  4. I never stop recommending Motherless Daughters – to 80year olds, to whomever. she’s outstanding. I love her. Hugs to you too!

    Comment by Esther Bradley-Detally on April 13, 2013 at 3:24 pm

  5. Wow! What an exciting honor for you! These books are so important to those of us who have lost our moms and still feel lost from time to time. Thank you for putting yourself out there to help heal others.

    Comment by Karen on April 13, 2013 at 5:47 pm

  6. Claire, you have endured the tragic loss of both your mother and father. You have spent some years wandering in the wilderness, of being no ones special child. You have managed to express this brilliantly and honestly in your book. You have a deep well of understanding and experience to bring to your work as grief councilor.
    Yet your present experience is of finding love, of the agony and ecstasy of bearing children and of the joy of watching them develop. I have heard somewhere that you should write about what you know. While you can still greatly contribute to other peoples’ reconciliation with grief, for you that is retrospective. Perhaps your future literary efforts should be towards the joys and rewards of hoping for the future of our kids. Your appeal to many is your admission of being vulnerable. We are vulnerable when we reveal our fears, but more vulnerable when we reveal our dreams.

    Comment by Paul Tredgett on April 18, 2013 at 7:24 am

  7. I just finished your book, after hysterically sobbing through quite a few portions. It was beautifully written and very emotionally raw. I also follow you on instagram and love seeing the hopeful pictures that you post all the time. It’s a testament that life really does go on. Thank you for your words!

    Comment by Sarah F. on April 18, 2013 at 7:51 am

  8. Good luck Claire! Sounds so inspirational and amazing – wish I could join to hear you all. Still find it fascinating that there are whole groups of women out there organized around the principle that they get what this feels like. Wishing you a wonderful Mother’s Day :)

    Comment by Jenn Meer on April 25, 2013 at 10:25 am

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